BlackBerry recently announced that it joined the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance, a non-profit organization formed in the summer of 2012 to address the lack of interoperability among strong authentication devices as well as the problems users face with creating and remembering multiple usernames and passwords. The Canadian smartphone manufacturer will also be joining the organization’s board of directors.
Members of FIDO must commit to share technology and collaborate to deliver open specifications for universal strong authentication that enables FIDO-compliant authentication methods to be interoperable, more secure and private, and easier to use. BlackBerry is one of the first mobile platform and device makers to work with FIDO. It hopes that its membership will equip customers with easy-to-use strong authentication, allowing them to easily move from site to site securely without having to enter identifying information multiple times.
The FIDO protocol, currently under development, will ultimately support a full range of authentication technologies, including biometrics such as fingerprint scanners, voice and facial recognition, as well as existing solutions and communications standards, such as Trusted Platform Modules (TPM), USB Security Tokens, Near Field Communication (NFC), One Time Passwords (OTP), embedded Secure Elements (eSE), and many other new and existing developments. This protocol will be open, extensible and designed to accommodate future innovation. However, it will also protect current technological investments. The FIDO Alliance assures platform and device makers that its protocol allows the interaction of technologies within a single infrastructure, enabling security options to be tailored to the distinct needs of each user and organization.
Michael Barrett, president, FIDO Alliance, expressed his enthusiasm at BlackBerry joining the consortium. “We welcome BlackBerry to the FIDO Alliance board as one of the world’s leading mobile platforms and mobile device providers. BlackBerry’s addition to the FIDO Alliance moves the mobile industry closer to universal strong authentication using the open FIDO specifications that embrace all use cases,” he said. “We also prize BlackBerry among the Internet’s leading relying parties, with the potential to allow millions of users to utilize open strong authentication.”
Brian McBride, technical director for identity, BlackBerry, echoed Barrett’s sentiments. “BlackBerry is deeply committed to remaining the Gold Standard in mobile security while providing a model for others to adopt and follow,” he commented in a press release. “Offering safe, reliable access for our customers across the globe is inherent to everything BlackBerry does as an organization. We are both excited and proud to join the FIDO Alliance to help extend mobile security best practices and standards to the global community as the alliance strives to achieve universal secure authentication.”